USS George Washington SSBN-598

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The USS George Washington was originally named Scorpion, and was the third ship to be named in honor of the first President of the United States. However, during construction her length was extended by a 130-foot long ballistic missile section and renamed USS George Washington. George Washington was the lead ship of her class of nuclear ballistic missile submarines.

USS George Washington’s keel was laid down in Groton, Connecticut at the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics in November 1957. The vessel was launched in June of 1959 and sponsored by Mrs. Robert B. Anderson. She was commissioned in December of the same year with Commander James B. Osborn in command of the Blue Crew and   Commander John L. From, Jr., in command of the Gold Crew.


The George Washington made history on July 20, 1960 when she launched the first Polaris missile from a submerged submarine, with the second missile being launched less than two hours later. After this George Washington returned to Cape Canaveral, Florida in order to embark her Gold Crew. With the Gold Crew George Washington mimicked her earlier successes by launching another two missiles while being submerged. Due to these successes George Washington sailed to Charleston, South Carolina in order to load a total of 16 Polaris missiles, make way for the Blue Crew to take over, in preparation for her first patrol.

The vessel’s first patrol was completed after 66 days of submerged running, and she put in at New London, Connecticut in January of 1961. After the Gold Crew took over she embarked on her second patrol, after which she entered Holy Loch, Scotland in April 1961. From this port the sub continued to conduct classified deterrent patrols until 1964, alternating between the two crews. Four years after her initial departure George Washington put in to refuel, logging an impressive 100,000 miles while guarding the seas in the name of America.

After Service

Following an overhaul and refueling in 1965, George Washington resumed patrols and assisted in deterring global war for the next 20 years. The submarine was decommissioned on January 24, 1985 and was later transferred to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington in order to be scrapped. In September of 1998 George Washington was disposed of through a submarine recycling program.

Asbestos in Navy Ships

Although an essential component of the naval fleet, especially throughout conflicts of the last century, submarines also pose a lasting health risk to soldiers serving on them. However, these risks extend beyond the inherent dangers that existed while operating the vessels during military conflicts. Unfortunately, products containing asbestos were also common aboard submarines because of the material’s high resistance to heat and fire. Despite its value as an insulator, asbestos fiber intake can lead to several serious health consequences, including mesothelioma, a devastating cancer without cure. Furthermore, the enclosed environment of submarines put servicemen at an even higher risk of exposure. Current and former military personnel who came into contact with or served on submarines should seek immediate medical attention in order to detect possible health consequences associated with asbestos exposure.


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